Figuring out how to keep the tone of content on Snapchat different from other social platforms will be the big challenge for Marriott, as users view Snapchat very differently than they do other platforms.
Between the rise of hotel lifestyle brands and new social campaigns this year the hospitality sector hasn’t had a lack of content, but so far Snapchat hasn’t been part of the fun. This week Marriott Hotels will break that mold.
Experimenting with Snapchat is the brand’s latest strategy to reach the younger traveler using its new creative content studio. Marriott chose four influencers for the three month campaign who will create a two-way conversation with users about what cities the influencers to visit, while working with the Marriott brand during the visits. The influencers will give users a list of cities to choose from, and the influencers then work with Marriott to pick the city when the most popular ones emerge.The Marriott Hotels brand is the only Marriott International brand part of the campaign.
“The majority of brands are using Snapchat to push out ads, we’re actually partnering with influencers to co-create content, said David Beebe, a spokesperson for Marriott’s creative content marketing. “Our overall strategy is first content, then community, and both of those lead to commerce. Commerce can mean a lot of things. But ultimately our goal is giving consumers what they want, and they will in turn give value back to us.”
“One of our targets is the next-generation traveler, or younger traveler. We’re partnering with storytellers who produce compelling stories and we’re the hero in the story enabling that story to be told. Snapchat is one of the biggest platforms young people use.”
For its influencers, Marriott turned to Shaun McBride, Brittany Furlan, Casey Neistat and Louis Cole. McBride and Furlan begin the campaign this month, Neistat will takeover in January and Cole steps in for February.
As Snapchat stories are only accessible for 24 hours, that doesn’t help users who want to revisit the content for inspiration or help planning a trip. Marriott partered with Naritiv to solve this problem.
“Naritiv allows us to capture that content and share it on our other platforms, which is why we partnered with them,” said Beebe. “What Narativ also does is provide the data analytics for Snapchat.”
“Not all the content being created for Snapchat may be put on Twitter or Facebook, for example. But if we see a really good image, we may use it on Facebook. We certainly look at numbers, and this is really our effort to engage with the next-generation traveler and this is part of the experiment. We’re putting it out there and hoping it works.”
Beebe said it depends on the content for whether or not a Snapchat video or image is labeled as such on another platform.
Marriott places a lot of faith in its influencers for this campaign, since it’s the influencers talking to their audiences with Marriott facilitating and helping tell its story. The influencers will publish on their own channels and on Marriott’s, allowing the hotel to gain followers from new audiences.
Neistat, for example, will go to Haiti to showcase the opening of Marriott’s new property there and explore the country’s recovery from the 2010 earthquake.
“With millennial travelers anything that is an ad makes them less likely to engage with a brand, but content that ads value to their life is something that they will engage with,” said Beebe. “A lot of brands will just hire influencers through an agency and only work with them once. We actually want to build relationships with our influencers for a long-term commitment and do multiple projects across multiple platforms with them.”
How much success this three month campaign enjoys determines if it continues, said Beebe.
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Photo credit: Marriott launches it's first Snapchat campaign this week, and it's also the first for a major hotel brand. Maurizio Pesce / Flickr